IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this book chapter

Government debt

In: Handbook of Macroeconomics

Listed author(s):
  • Elmendorf, Douglas W.
  • Gregory Mankiw, N.

This chapter surveys the literature on the macroeconomic effects of government debt. It begins by discussing the data on debt and deficits, including the historical time series, measurement issues, and projections of future fiscal policy. The chapter then presents the conventional theory of government debt, which emphasizes aggregate demand in the short run and crowding out in the long run. It next examines the theoretical and empirical debate over the theory of debt neutrality called Ricardian equivalence. Finally, the chapter considers various normative perspectives about how the government should use its ability to borrow.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B7P5X-4FPWV0F-B/2/40f96c2b39c6d1bbfc5d7483fca5946a
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

as
in new window

This chapter was published in:
  • J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), 1999. "Handbook of Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 1.
  • This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook of Macroeconomics with number 1-25.
    Handle: RePEc:eee:macchp:1-25
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/bookseriesdescription.cws_home/BS_HE/description

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as
    in new window

    1. R. Glenn Hubbard & Jonathan S. Skinner, 1996. "Assessing the Effectiveness of Saving Incentives," Books, American Enterprise Institute, number 53540.
    2. Weil, Philippe, 1989. "Overlapping families of infinitely-lived agents," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 183-198, March.
    3. Robert E. Hall & Frederic S. Mishkin, 1980. "The Sensitivity of Consumption to Transitory Income: Estimates from Panel Data on Households," NBER Working Papers 0505, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Benjamin M. Friedman, 1992. "Learning From the Reagan Deficits," NBER Working Papers 4022, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Bernheim, B Douglas & Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "The Strategic Bequest Motive," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages 151-182, July.
    6. Leeper, Eric M., 1991. "Equilibria under 'active' and 'passive' monetary and fiscal policies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 129-147, February.
    7. Feldstein, Martin, 1985. "Debt and taxes in the theory of public finance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 233-245, November.
    8. Romer, D., 1988. "What Are The Costs Of Excessive Deficits?," Papers 14, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
    9. Orazio P. Attanasio & Martin Browning, 1993. "Consumption over the Life Cycle and over the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 4453, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Plosser, Charles I., 1987. "Fiscal policy and the term structure," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 343-367, September.
    11. Martin Feldstein & James M. Poterba & Louis Dicks-Mireaux, 1981. "The Effective Tax Rate and the Pretax Rate of Return," NBER Working Papers 0740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    13. Kormendi, Roger C, 1983. "Government Debt, Government Spending, and Private Sector Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 994-1010, December.
    14. Barsky, Robert B & Mankiw, N Gregory & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1986. "Ricardian Consumers with Keynesian Propensities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 676-691, September.
    15. Runkle, David E., 1991. "Liquidity constraints and the permanent-income hypothesis : Evidence from panel data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 73-98, February.
    16. Blinder, Alan S. & Solow, Robert M., 1973. "Does fiscal policy matter?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 319-337.
    17. Kormendi, Roger C & Meguire, Philip, 1990. "Government Debt, Government Spending, and Private Sector Behavior: Reply and Update," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 604-617, June.
    18. Barro, Robert J. & Mankiw, N Gregory & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1994. "Capital Mobility in Neoclassical Models of Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1019, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    19. Ludvigson, Sydney, 1996. "The macroeconomic effects of government debt in a stochastic growth model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 25-45, August.
    20. Blanchard Olivier & Weil Philippe, 2001. "Dynamic Efficiency, the Riskless Rate, and Debt Ponzi Games under Uncertainty," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 1-23, November.
    21. Buchanan, James M, 1976. "Barro on the Ricardian Equivalence Theorem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(2), pages 337-342, April.
    22. Feldstein, Martin, 1982. "Government deficits and aggregate demand," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 1-20.
    23. Modigliani, Franco, 1988. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers and Life Cycle Saving in the Accumulation of Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 15-40, Spring.
    24. Bennett T. McCallum, 1982. "Are Bond-Financed Deficits Inflationary? A Ricardian Analysis," NBER Working Papers 0905, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    25. Zeldes, Stephen P, 1989. "Consumption and Liquidity Constraints: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(2), pages 305-346, April.
    26. Smetters, Kent, 1999. "Ricardian equivalence: long-run Leviathan," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 395-421, September.
    27. Judd, Kenneth, 1987. "Debt and distortionary taxation in a simple perfect foresight model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 51-72, July.
    28. Romer, Christina D, 1989. "The Prewar Business Cycle Reconsidered: New Estimates of Gross National Product, 1869-1908," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 1-37, February.
    29. Butkiewicz, James L., 1983. "The market value of outstanding government debt : Comment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 373-379.
    30. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
    31. Kimball, Miles S & Mankiw, N Gregory, 1989. "Precautionary Saving and the Timing of Taxes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 863-879, August.
    32. O'Connell, Stephen A & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1988. "Rational Ponzi Games," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 29(3), pages 431-450, August.
    33. Roger H. Gordon & A. Lans Bovenberg, 1994. "Why is Capital so Immobile Internationally?: Possible Explanations and Implications for Capital Income Taxation," NBER Working Papers 4796, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    34. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Lawrence H. Summers, 1980. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation," NBER Working Papers 0445, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    35. Rosenswieg, Jeffrey A & Tallman, Ellis W, 1993. "Fiscal Policy and Trade Adjustment: Are the Deficits Really Twins?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(4), pages 580-594, October.
    36. Andrew B. Abel & N. Gregory Mankiw & Lawrence H. Summers & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 1986. "Assessing Dynamic Efficiency: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 2097, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    37. R. Glenn Hubbard & Jonathan S. Skinner, 1996. "Assessing the Effectiveness of Saving Incentives," NBER Working Papers 5686, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    38. Martin Feldstein & Charles Horioka, 1979. "Domestic Savings and International Capital Flows," NBER Working Papers 0310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    39. Robert J. Barro, 1986. "Government Spending, Interest Rates, Prices, and Budget Deficits in the United Kingdom, 1701-1918," NBER Working Papers 2005, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    40. Orazio P. Attanasio & Guglielmo Weber, 1994. "Is Consumption Growth Consistent with Intertemporal Optimization? Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," NBER Working Papers 4795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    41. Matthew D. Shapiro & Joel Slemrod, 1993. "Consumer Response to the Timing of Income: Evidence from a Change in Tax Withholding," NBER Working Papers 4344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    42. Daniel, Betty C, 1993. "Tax Timing and Liquidity Constraints: A Heterogenous-Agent Model," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(2), pages 176-196, May.
    43. Eisner, Robert & Pieper, Paul J, 1986. "A New View of the Federal Debt and Budget Deficits: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1156-1157, December.
    44. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    45. Feldstein, Martin, 1996. "The Missing Piece in Policy Analysis: Social Security Reform," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 1-14, May.
    46. David W. Wilcox, 1987. "Social security benefits, consumption expenditure, and the life cycle hypothesis," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 78, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    47. Martin Feldstein, 1996. "How Big Should Government Be?," NBER Working Papers 5868, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    48. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, December.
    49. Chan, Louis Kuo Chi, 1983. "Uncertainty and the neutrality of government financing policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 351-372.
    50. Seater, John J. & Mariano, Roberto S., 1985. "New tests of the life cycle and tax discounting hypotheses," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 195-215, March.
    51. Evans, Paul, 1987. "Do budget deficits raise nominal interest rates? : Evidence from six countries," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 281-300, September.
    52. Cardia, Emanuela, 1997. "Replicating Ricardian Equivalence Tests with Simulated Series," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 65-79, March.
    53. Laurence Ball & Douglas W. Elmendorf & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1995. "The Deficit Gamble," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1710, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    54. Graham, Fred C, 1995. "Government Debt, Government Spending, and Private-Sector Behavior: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1348-1356, December.
    55. Sims, Christopher A, 1994. "A Simple Model for Study of the Determination of the Price Level and the Interaction of Monetary and Fiscal Policy," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 4(3), pages 381-399.
    56. Alan J. Auerbach & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1991. "Generational Accounts: A Meaningful Alternative to Deficit Accounting," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 5, pages 55-110 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    57. Boothe, Paul M. & Reid, Bradford G., 1989. "Asset returns and government budgets in a small open economy : Empirical evidence for Canada," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 65-77, January.
    58. Robert M. Solow, 1956. "A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 65-94.
    59. Bovenberg, A.L. & Gordon, R.H., 1996. "Why is capital so immobile internationally? Possible explanation and implications for capital income taxation," Other publications TiSEM 6a131c21-fd9a-4d83-8d9a-7, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    60. Bernheim, B Douglas & Bagwell, Kyle, 1988. "Is Everything Neutral?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 308-338, April.
    61. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1987. "Ricardian Equivalence: An Evaluation of Theory and Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1987, Volume 2, pages 263-316 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    62. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    63. Deborah Roseveare & Willi Leibfritz & Douglas Fore & Eckhard Wurzel, 1996. "Ageing Populations, Pension Systems and Government Budgets: Simulations for 20 OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 168, OECD Publishing.
    64. repec:cdl:ucsbec:8-93 is not listed on IDEAS
    65. Barth, James R & Iden, George & Russek, Frank S, 1986. "Government Debt, Government Spending, and Private Sector Behavior: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1158-1167, December.
    66. John Y. Campbell & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1989. "Consumption, Income and Interest Rates: Reinterpreting the Time Series Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 185-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    67. Modigliani, Franco & Sterling, Arlie G, 1990. "Government Debt, Government Spending, and Private Sector Behavior: A Further Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 600-603, June.
    68. Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1988. "Intergenerational Transfers and Savings," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 41-58, Spring.
    69. Dean Croushore, 1993. "Ricardian equivalence with wage-rate uncertainty," Working Papers 93-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    70. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1985. "Debt, Deficits, and Finite Horizons," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 223-247, April.
    71. W. G. Gale & J. K. Scholz, "undated". "Intergenerational transfers and the accumulation of wealth," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1019-93, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    72. Seater, John J, 1993. "Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(1), pages 142-190, March.
    73. Evans, Paul, 1987. "Interest Rates and Expected Future Budget Deficits in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(1), pages 34-58, February.
    74. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 0042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    75. Ballard, Charles L & Shoven, John B & Whalley, John, 1985. "General Equilibrium Computations of the Marginal Welfare Costs of Taxes in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 128-138, March.
    76. Kessler, Denis & Masson, Andre, 1989. "Bequest and Wealth Accumulation: Are Some Pieces of the Puzzle Missing?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 141-152, Summer.
    77. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
    78. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Stanley Fischer, 1989. "Lectures on Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262022834, December.
    79. Paul M. Romer, 1987. "Crazy Explanations for the Productivity Slowdown," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1987, Volume 2, pages 163-210 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    80. Evans, Paul, 1993. "Consumers Are Not Ricardian: Evidence from Nineteen Countries," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(4), pages 534-548, October.
    81. Friedman, Benjamin M, 1992. "Learning from the Reagan Deficits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 299-304, May.
    82. Plosser, Charles I., 1982. "Government financing decisions and asset returns," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 325-352.
    83. Hoelscher, Gregory, 1986. "New Evidence on Deficits and Interest Rates," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 18(1), pages 1-17, February.
    84. Evans, Paul, 1991. "Is Ricardian Equivalence a Good Approximation?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(4), pages 626-644, October.
    85. James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Finite Lifetimes and the Effects of Budget Deficits on National Savings," Working papers 434, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    86. repec:fth:harver:1435 is not listed on IDEAS
    87. Modigliani, Franco & Sterling, Arlie, 1986. "Government Debt, Government Spending and Private Sector Behavior: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1168-1179, December.
    88. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1984. "Perspectives on High World Real Interest Rates," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 15(2), pages 273-334.
    89. Yotsuzuka, Toshiki, 1987. "Ricardian equivalence in the presence of capital market imperfections," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 411-436, September.
    90. Paul A. Samuelson, 1958. "An Exact Consumption-Loan Model of Interest with or without the Social Contrivance of Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 467-467.
    91. Hall, Robert E, 1978. "Stochastic Implications of the Life Cycle-Permanent Income Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 971-987, December.
    92. Trostel, Philip A., 1993. "The nonequivalence between deficits and distortionary taxation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 207-227, April.
    93. Kormendi, Roger C & Meguire, Philip G, 1995. "Government Debt, Government Spending, and Private-Sector Behavior: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1357-1361, December.
    94. Evans, Paul, 1986. "Is the dollar high because of large budget deficits?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 227-249, November.
    95. Wachtel, Paul & Young, John, 1987. "Deficit Announcements and Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 1007-1012, December.
    96. Graham, Fred C & Himarios, Daniel, 1991. "Fiscal Policy and Private Consumption: Instrumental Variables Tests of the "Consolidated Approach."," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(1), pages 53-67, February.
    97. Seater, John J., 1981. "The market value of outstanding government debt, 1919-1975," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 85-101.
    98. Rao Aiyagari, S. & Gertler, Mark, 1985. "The backing of government bonds and monetarism," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 19-44, July.
    99. Poterba, James M, 1988. "Are Consumers Forward Looking? Evidence from Fiscal Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 413-418, May.
    100. Aschauer, David Alan, 1985. "Fiscal Policy and Aggregate Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 117-127, March.
    101. Evans, Paul, 1985. "Do Large Deficits Produce High Interest Rates?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 68-87, March.
    102. Christopher D. Carroll, 1997. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 1-55.
    103. Feldstein, Martin & Elmendorf, Douglas W, 1990. "Government Debt, Government Spending, and Private Sector Behavior Revisited: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 589-599, June.
    104. Evans, Paul, 1988. "Are Consumers Ricardian? Evidence for the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 983-1004, October.
    105. Graham, Fred C & Himarios, Daniel, 1996. "Consumption, Wealth, and Finite Horizons: Tests of Ricardian Equivalence," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(3), pages 527-544, July.
    106. Tirole, Jean, 1985. "Asset Bubbles and Overlapping Generations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1499-1528, November.
    107. Dotsey, Michael, 1994. "Some unpleasant supply side arithmetic," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 507-524, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:macchp:1-25. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.